A tell in poker is a subtle but detectable change in a player's behavior or demeanor that gives clues to that player's assessment of his hand.Outside of poker a "Tell" is an inadvertent release of information while discussing an issue.
In this case the Tell occurred during last night's Third Thursday meeting. The topic was of course health care. There were representatives from Heinrich, Bingaman and Udall. Steve Haro, Martin Heinrich's chief of staff, was probably the most talkative of the three and the source of the Tell.
During an exchange where he was asked if Martin would join the 60 other members of the House that had signed a pledge promising not to vote for a Health Care Reform bill without a strong public option he challenged the fact that such a list existed and then came the "Tell" when he said that if such a list existed Health Care reform was already dead.
Tells are always tied to a hidden piece of information - in this case the inference is clear - the public option won't be part of the bill and if there are indeed 60 members of the House that won't vote for it without a public option the bill is dead.
We can only hope that this is true - what Baucus & Associates (the Gang of 6 including our very own Jeff Bingaman) are crafting will no doubt be worse than the present situation. Better to do nothing than enact a bill written by and for the health care industry.
There was one amusing aside - Haro thanked us for his job. Sad to say it but the way things are going he needs to enjoy it now because he won't have it for long.